You belong

FROM high on a slope of Mount Shasta in the California Cascade Range on a frosty, clear night, the stars brilliantly snap. They're innumerable, yet each star is distinct. On the horizon far below shine the lights of a teeming, modern city. Its population seems immense. Yet every individual, no matter how remote the town or congested the city, is as unique as a single star. As a child I would often gaze in wonderment at the immensity of the cosmos and consider my place in it, sometimes with the result of feeling overlooked or lost. Many today, faced with untoward circumstances such as unemployment, loss of a loved one, financial worries, or failing health, may share this perception. And with reports of populations shaken by earthquakes, plagued by drought and famine, or subjected to the ravages of civil war, we all may question what value one individual could possibly have.

The unparalleled life of the Master, Christ Jesus, proved that none need be overlooked or lost. He readily healed the outcast leper1 and compassionately reached out to and cured the mentally deranged.2 No matter how incurable or longstanding a condition may have appeared, Jesus knew that each, in his real being as the child of God, was complete and whole and had a very special purpose in God's kingdom.

In his parable of the prodigal son, Jesus illustrated that whatever the situation we may be caught up in or regardless of how far or how long we may have strayed, in our true being we always belong to and are at home with God. The father's words to the older son in the parable convey a warm sense of God's constant love for His offspring: ``Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.''3 Mary Baker Eddy,4 with deep reverence for Christ Jesus and for what he taught about God's unconditional love for us, states: ``If God, who is Life, were parted for a moment from His reflection, man, during that moment there would be no divinity reflected. The Ego would be unexpressed, and the Father would be childless,--no Father.''5 Her words help us to see how necessary we each are to God and to the completeness of His universe. If the true being of each of us is God's likeness, as the Bible teaches, then each of us must belong, must be an indispensable expression of the divine nature.

Once when I moved to a new city where there were many reported incidences of criminal activity such as theft, I wanted so much to feel at home and to know that I belonged. It seemed difficult to embrace this community, but I knew from the teachings of the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health by Mrs. Eddy, that right where I was I could see evidence of the true man in God's likeness, of God's creation, in which each individual has a valued purpose. Often I would be called away from home, leaving for several weeks at a time. I prayed to see clearly that as God's offspring I could only be where I belonged and that this was true of everyone else. No one could be where he or she does not belong or be engaged in criminal acts. By loving only the pure, God-derived nature of my fellowman, I could see that anyone's desire to commit a crime must be a lie! My house remained untouched, and I soon became friendly with the neighbors on our street. I began to feel safe and at home in this very large city and to discover many of its interesting places and people.

In another passage Mrs. Eddy writes, referring to God as Mind, ``The divine Mind maintains all identities, from a blade of grass to a star, as distinct and eternal.''6 The understanding of ourselves, gained through prayer, as distinct expressions of God firmly established in His creation, replaces the underlying fears of competition for limited resources or opportunities. At once we can begin to recognize how perfectly provided for we each are by our Father, God. Now, when taking in the view of the vast starry sky, I rejoice in the awareness of God's nearness, of His eternal care for His spiritual universe where everyone belongs.

1See Matthew 8:2, 3. 2See Mark 5:1-15. 3Luke 15:31. 4The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 5Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 306. 6Ibid., p. 70. You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. Jeremiah 31:3{et

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